This DVD, Hansel & Gretel: An Opera Fantasy, may be the definitive production of one of the greatest fairy tales ever told. With brilliant imagination and technical wizardry, comparable only to Walt Disney s Fantasia, this... more » DVD uses stop-action animation, over 35 hand-sculpted Kinemen dolls (a precursor to claymation), and lavish sets to create a fantasyland of unearthly beauty. Set to Englebert Humperdinck s classic 1893 opera., sung by some of the most acclaimed performers of the time (Anna Russell, Constance Brigham, Mildred Dunnock and Frank Rogier), the film s score, conducted by Franz Aller, won a Grammy Award and is filled with characters of unparalleled charm. he Kinemen characters featured in the film took over 15 years to develop. Compounded of intricate armatures, a secret chemical mixture for flesh, human hair, magnetized feet and truly human personalities; they are exemplary actors, able to simulate natural movements of the human body, with a variety of facial expressions that equal the range of humans. Directed by Michael Meyerberg, this DVD, Hansel & Gretel: An Opera Fantasy, is a masterpiece, combining melodic beauty, a whimsical story, a magical settings, and delightful characters, that will delight both your children and the rest of the family alike with this inventive and original recreation of the classic fairytale!« less
Horrible Print - Washed out, faded and soft focus!
T. Mozer | Los Angeles | 02/15/2002
(1 out of 5 stars)
"Don't buy it. I have wonderful memories of seeing this film at the movies when I was a child. I loved it so much that I even had the record album. I couldn't wait to get it on DVD to share with my children. What a disapointment! It looks like the same print they showed in the theaters back in the early 1970s. The colors are washed out and faded. Even worse, the image looks soft. I knew this was an old film and I wasn't expecting a "Snow White" quality restoration, but this was so bad that my family and I couldn't even finish watching it.
The dismal quality becomes even more apparent when you watch the "Making Of" promo included on the disc. Filmed in Black & White back in 1953, it looks crisper and sharper than the film itself.
I knew I was in trouble, though, when I opened the DVD case and there wasn't a chapter list inside. I sensed that if View Video (the distributor) didn't care enough about their product to include a chapter list, they wouldn't care about getting the best possible print (let alone striking a new one). And I was right.
Again, despite whatever fond memories you might have of this film, save your money. Don't buy it."
Outstanding Intro. to Opera, Good Music!
A. Gregory | Chesterfield,, Virginia USA | 12/12/1999
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This version of the opera of Hansel and Gretel is accessible to children of all ages because it is visually intriguing. Animated puppets, called the Kinemins by the producer back in 1954, are believable even though they lack the sophistication of the movement seen in Toy Story. The settings, colorful, sometime frightening, and always imaginative, are perfectly matched to the symphonic score of the opera and to the fanciful nature of the story. Of course, the witch is the centerpiece of the story, and Anna Russell's incomparable interpretation of the witch both unnerves and entertains at the same time. She is obviously having fun--as is the witch herself until her untimely demise in the oven. I saw this film in a theatre when I was only five years old, fell in love with the score as a result, and have loved classical music ever since--thanks to Hansel and Gretel. I still cherise this film and recommend it to anyone with children. Actually, this film is delightful entertainment for people of all ages."
An excellent introduction to Opera for children of all ages
A. Gregory | 09/23/1999
(5 out of 5 stars)
"My children grew up watching the 1954 version of this opera on video and though they are all grown they still remember it and the music. There is no other portrayal of the witch except Anna Russell's she is the very best. My children also remember their first introduction to opera through this video which has stayed with them through the years and has taught them music appreciation."
Charming version of timeless tale
T. Mozer | 09/02/1999
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I first saw this many years ago as a child and thought it was just wonderful. I still think so after seeing it again as a "grown-up." This 1954 version adapts the operatic telling of the story composed by Engelbert Humperdinck in 1893, and combines just the right amount of singing and speaking to make the balance comfortable for young viewers. The stop-motion animation is well done, and each character is highly individualized, physically and vocally. Perhaps best of all is the divine Anna Russell's portrayal of the witch -- she croons and bellows, often within the same sentence, sometimes within the same word! Her performance is a over-the-top delight, and the cast also boasts the fine Mildred Dunnock as the mother. Most of Humperdinck's glorious score is used, and this film serves as a wonderful introduction to the world of opera for children."
A Saturday Matinee Classic
A. Craig | Grand Junction,CO | 09/28/2000
(4 out of 5 stars)
"I can remember seeing usually in December at the local movie theater in my hometown with my older sisters It was a big hit with us then and still is a big hit around our house. Anna Russell's performance is a classic and the way the original opera is presented makes it a little bit easier for the young ones to enjoy it. Sure this is not the sort of thing you would see at the Metropolitan Opera House, but it is a lot of fun. And this Video brings back a number of good memories!"